Targeted Help for the Hard-to-Employ: Outcomes of Two Philadelphia Welfare-to-Work Programs. Earnings


While helping participants become employed was a central goal of the WtW programs, the ultimate goal was to help participants become self-sufficient.To the extent that WtW participants were employed and had increased their earnings, they moved closer to self-sufficiency. Next, we describe the earnings of RSC and TWC participants after program entry.

Earnings improved over time after program enrollment. The average quarterly earnings across all RSC and TWC participants (including those with no earnings) increased after program entry and remained substantially higher than those of preprogram levels (Figure II.3).[8] One year after program enrollment, both RSC and TWC participants had average quarterly earnings ($1,232 and $841, respectively) that were about two times higher than one year before program enrollment ($520 and $429, respectively).[9] Improved employment success, evident in the increased employment rates in the quarters after program enrollment, is likely associated with higher earnings.

Figure II.3
Philadelphia WTW Outcomes Study:
Earnings Over Time

Figure II.3 Philadelphia WTW Outcomes Study: Earnings Over Time.

Source: Administrative Data from State of Pennsylvania

Increases in wages and/or hours worked played a role in increased earnings. RSC and TWC participants who changed jobs during the first year after program entry, on average, reported higher hourly wages at their most recent job than at their first one (Table II.6). In addition, TWC participants who changed jobs reported working more hours each week. Hours worked and wage rates may also have increased for participants who stayed in the first job over the year after program entry; however, the follow-up survey data do not provide this information for these participants.

Table II.6
Philadelphia WTW Outcomes Study:
Comparison of the First Job and The Most Recent Job Held During the
Year After Enrolling in Welfare-to-Work: Hours of Work and Wage Rates
(Percentages, Unless Otherwise Indicated)
Job Characteristic First Most Recent Sig. First Most Recent Sig.
Hours Worked per Week
Less than 20 hours 7.0 4.3   4.0 3.9  
20 to 29 hours 23.5 21.2   44.2 31.9 ***
30 hours or more 69.5 74.5   51.9 64.1 ***
Mean hours per week 32.9 33.7   29.6 31.6 ***
Hourly Wage
Less than $5.15 (min. wage) 6.2 6.0   8.6 7.3  
$5.15 to $7.99 62.0 53.1 ** 73.8 60.0 ***
$8.00 to $9.99 22.0   13.4 24.0 ***
$10.00 or more 9.8 17.2 *** 4.2 8.7 **
Mean wage (dollars) $7.15 $7.72 *** $6.28 $7.09 ***
Insurance Benefits on Job
Participates in health insurance plan 5.7 12.8 *** 3.5 8.6 ***
Participates in dental insurance plan 4.7 11.5 *** 2.0 7.2 ***
Other Benefits on Job
Paid sick leave available 14.5 32.7 *** 11.2 25.0 ***
Paid vacation leave available 18.4 35.4 *** 13.3 28.9 ***
Paid holidays available 23.9 36.4 *** 16.9 34.3 ***
Pension plan available 15.8 26.6 *** 7.6 21.0 ***
Sample Size 280 280   331 331  
Source: 2000-2003 12-month follow-up survey of Welfare-to-Work enrollees.
Notes: The survey data have been weighted to be representative of all WtW enrollees in the respective sites.Survey item nonresponse may cause the sample sizes for specific variables to be smaller than those shown. Rounding may cause percentages to sum to something other than 100.

The statistics presented in this table pertain to the principal job held by a sample member at the time of the survey interview. If the sample member had more than one job at that time, then the principal job was identified as the job on which the most hours were worked in a typical week. In the event of a tie on hours worked, the job with the earliest starting date.

*/**/*** Difference between the first job and the most recent job is statistically significant at the .10/.05/.01 level, two-tailed test.
a The hourly wage is likely less than minimum wage for some participants because of errors in how the data are reported and imputed. Participants reported their monthly wage or provided a range of their monthly wage as well as the number of hours they worked. These estimates are thus based on self reported data and may reflect some measurement error.

In addition, benefits improved over time.As RSC and TWC participants moved into jobs with increased wages and hours worked, they also received better benefits. Both RSC and TWC participants who switched jobs were more likely to report receiving such benefits in their most recent job as participation in their employers health or dental insurance plan, availability of a pension plan, and receipt of sick leave, vacation leave, or paid holidays (Table II.6).

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